《英文寫作聖經》:英文寫作的基本原則(4)

作者: William Strunk Jr.  譯者: 陳湘陽

(圖/野人出版提供)

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規則:  刪除贅字。

 

文章要簡潔才有力。句子裡不該有冗詞,段落裡也不該有冗句。但這並不代表每個句子都要寫得很短,或寫作時要省略所有細節只寫綱要,而是要「字字有真意」。

左邊的常見用語都違反了這個原則,建議修改為右邊:

the question as to whether

whether (the question whether) 是否

there is no doubt but that

no doubt (doubtless)無疑

used for fuel purposes

used for fuel 當作燃料

he is a man who

he

in a hasty manner

hastily 迅速地

this is a subject which

this subject 這個主題

His story is a strange one

His story is strange 他的故事很不尋常

the reason why is that

because 因為

 

特別注意,the fact that 不管出現在何處都是冗詞,必須改寫:

待修用法

建議用法

in spite of the fact that

though (although) 儘管

owing to the fact that

since (because) 因為

call your attention to the fact that

remind you (notify you)提醒你

I was unaware of the fact that

I was unaware that (did not know) 我不知道

the fact that he had not succeeded

his failure 他的失敗

the fact that I had arrived

my arrival 我的到來

 

其他需注意的用詞如 case、character、nature、system 請參照第四章。Who is、which was 之輩也常是冗詞。

待修用法

建議用法

His brother, who is a member of the same firm.

His brother, a member of the same firm. 他在同一家公司上班的哥哥

Trafalgar, which was Nelson’s last battle.

Trafalgar, Nelsons last battle. 尼爾森打的最後一場仗特拉法加海戰

 

肯定敘述比否定來得簡潔;主動語態比被動來得簡潔。另有一種常見的寫法違反簡潔原則—把一個較複雜的概念以一系列的句子或獨立子句逐步說明。將所有句子合併為一句會是更好的做法。

原文

建議寫法

Macbeth was very ambitious. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murdered Duncan. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king. (51 words.)

馬克白野心勃勃。這讓他想成為蘇格蘭的國王。女巫們告訴他願望會成真。當時的蘇格蘭國王是肯。馬克白在妻子的慫恿下謀殺了肯。他因此能夠繼承王位。(51 字)

Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth achieved hisambition and realizedthe prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place. (26 words.)

在妻子的慫恿之下,馬克白謀殺了肯,繼承了蘇格蘭的王位。他成就了自己的野心,也應驗了女巫們的預言。(26 字)

 

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英文原文:

RULE13 Omit needless words.

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.

Many expressions in common use violate this principle:

the question as to whether whether (the question whether)
there is no doubt but that no doubt (doubtless)
used for fuel purposes used for fuel
he is a man who he
in a hasty manner hastily
this is a subject which this subject
His story is a strange one His story is strange
the reason why is that because

In especial the expression the fact that should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs.

in spite of the fact that though (although)
owing to the fact that since (because)
call your attention to the fact that remind you (notify you)
I was unaware of the fact that I was unaware that (did not know)
the fact that he had not succeeded his failure
the fact that I had arrived my arrival

See also under case, character, nature, system in Chapter IV. Who is, which was, and the like are often superfluous.

His brother, who is a member of the same firm. His brother, a member of the same firm.
Trafalgar, which was Nelson’s last battle. Trafalgar, Nelsons last battle.

As positive statement is more concise than negative, and the active voice more concise than the passive, many of the examples given under Rules 11 and 12 illustrate this rule as well. A common violation of conciseness is the presentation of a single complex idea, step by step, in a series of sentences or independent clauses which might to advantage be combined into one.

Macbeth was very ambitious. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murdered Duncan. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king. (51 words.) Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth achieved hisambition and realizedthe prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place. (26 words.)

 

 

 

─ ─摘自:《英文寫作聖經《The Elements of Style》》野人出版提供@

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